Restoring a fireplace at the click of a switch

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I love real fires. Every home I’ve ever lived in has had them – until now. We’ve got several original fireplaces in this house, but none of them are in working order… and since we’re always talking about moving in the next few years, it seems foolish to spend money on renovation work.

Sitting Room

What I’d really like is a wood burner – but the costs are even more prohibitive. Chimney liners, installation work, the stove itself… you’re spending at least £2,000 before you can strike a match.

So how can you bring a sad and empty fireplace back to life without it costing the earth? Just before Christmas I decided to order this Dimplex electric wood burner.

We carefully removed the old grate and stored it away, and were pleased to find that our measurements were correct – the new stove sits nicely on the old hearth. The black cable sits discreetly behind our fender, and I’ve arranged a wooden crate to hide the place where it disappears into the cupboard. You’d hardly know it was there.

Electric Stove

There are two parts to the stove – a fan heater on the bottom and a flame generator on top. It’s very realistic. So much so that my children still can’t quite believe it’s not real. You can hear the fan when the heater’s running, but you can also use it on a flame only setting which is almost silent. We never need to have the heater on for long; it warms the room up very quickly.


Electric stove and old wooden crate

Electric Stove

And that’s it really. Warmth and a roaring fire at the click of switch. It’d be perfect for a rental property where you can’t make major changes. I still yearn for a real one, but this will do nicely for now.

This Brayford Stove costs £159 and is available from John Lewis here, and many other retailers. This is not a sponsored post!

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Home Etc


  1. January 19, 2016 / 7:58 am

    From the photo you could never tell it’s an electric fire. It’s very realistic looking, and just think, no cleaning it or trying to get it going and keeping it going once it’s alight. Just a flick of a switch…simples! We booked a cottage holiday in February once where the only source of heat in the living room was a wood burner. The stupid thing almost lead to a break up of a marriage! Try as he might, Mr R could not get the thing to stay alight for more than half an hour. The air turned blue . Mr R was not a happy man. I was a cold woman. Not a good combination. Thank god there was a pub with a log fire that roared happily doors away!

    • marmaladepie
      January 19, 2016 / 9:22 pm

      It’s so convincing, isn’t it? I must say it’s much easier than having to clean out the grate and all the soot etc. Ha, ha, that sounds like an interesting holiday! 🙂

  2. January 19, 2016 / 8:50 am

    I love these, my next door neighbour has something very similar and they’re so toasty. I think it’s the perfect alternative solution. I’m so jealous of you having multiple fireplaces, we’ve got one in the dining room as well as the living room but I think what would have been ones upstairs have been bricked up. Older homes are just the best Xx

    • marmaladepie
      January 19, 2016 / 9:24 pm

      I would so much rather have a real one like yours, but this will do nicely for now! It’s a big investment – if we were in a bigger house I wouldn’t hesitate as it’s definitely worth it in the long run. Part of the reason we delayed is that I always felt bad about changing the original fireplaces! It’s that link with the past that’s so interesting xx

  3. January 19, 2016 / 10:17 am

    The electric wood burner looks great! I had no idea they even existed! I have been wanting a woodturner too for a while and putting it off because of the cost. I’m definitely looking into this option. Gemma xx

    • marmaladepie
      January 19, 2016 / 9:24 pm

      Thanks Gemma! I’m so pleased with my purchase – it really has cheered our sitting room up! x

  4. January 27, 2016 / 3:51 pm

    Looks like a perfect fit, we had one of those in our old home for the very same reason xxx

    • marmaladepie
      January 27, 2016 / 8:24 pm

      Thanks Kara – they’re great, aren’t they?

    • marmaladepie
      January 27, 2016 / 8:26 pm

      Thanks Nancy! I love the tiles too – part of the reason we haven’t properly restored the fireplaces in this house yet is that I can’t bear to rip out the original tiles and surround. We could try and repair it, but it would have to removed and I suspect it would get damaged in the process. The bright green ties were one of the things that really made me love the house! x

  5. January 27, 2016 / 7:00 pm

    That looks like it fits your space perfectly. It does look quite real from your pictures. Such a great idea – hope you enjoyed your cuppa xx

    • marmaladepie
      January 27, 2016 / 8:27 pm

      Thanks Lisa – it really is surprisingly convincing even in person! x

  6. January 27, 2016 / 9:34 pm

    That’s fab – I had old fireplaces in my previous house but they weren’t in working order and something like this would have been fantastic. We’ve no fireplaces in this house sadly, not even a fake mantelpiece but mum and dad have a real fire and it is just heaven! #homeetc

    • marmaladepie
      February 1, 2016 / 2:21 pm

      I really have been so impressed with this little fire Stephanie! x

  7. February 2, 2016 / 8:46 pm

    Hello Lizzie! Thanks so much for linking up with us! My house was hit with the dreaded winter sick bug last week so I’m so behind with my comments. Just catching up now! I absolutely LOVE your new look blog!!!! Absolutely gorgeous —it looks fab! I bet you’re thrilled! Am SO excited — I have a white one of these on order for my garden office!!!! I cannot WAIT! 🙂

    PS #HomeEtc is live tomorrow from 6.30am xx

    • marmaladepie
      February 4, 2016 / 8:35 pm

      Oh dear, we had the sickness too last week! Not me though fortunately… x

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